Researchers from U of M have initial success in trial of new Cancer eliminating treatment
Orange County, CA - January 11th 2017 - In the ongoing fight against cancer, a new therapeutic vaccine using nanodiscs could be effective in eradicating existing cells and preventing new growth. The technique uses immunotherapy to combat Cancer Cells with immune cells already present in the body. Cancer is the world’s leading cause of death, claiming 8.2 million lives each year. This year alone an approximate 14 million new cases will be diagnosed and it’s estimated that number will jump to 22 million over the next two decades. While only being tested on mice, the study has had remarkable success and brought us a step closer in finding an end to cancer.
The nanodiscs, which are synthetic, high density lipoproteins about 10 nanometers (nm) in size (a human hair is about 80,000 to 100,000 nm), are loaded with neoantigens, or tumor-specific mutations, from the patient’s own tumor cells before insertion into the body. The neoantigens aid in the extirpation of cancer cells by teaching immune system T-cells how to recognize and annihilate those mutations. Working with the body’s Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors, T-cell response is boosted to form an improved system that can wipe out tumors and decreases the chance of reoccurrence.
“The idea is that these vaccine nanodiscs will trigger the immune system to fight the existing cancer cells in a personalized manner,” said James Moon, the John Gideon Searle assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences and biomedical engineering.
In a trial using mice, the immunotherapy vaccine was able to drive 27% of T-Cells to target and attack melanoma and colon cancer tumors previously established in the body. Used in conjunction with immune checkpoint inhibitors, which amplify the fighting response in T-cells, the nanodiscs were able to fully expunge the tumors in a 10 day period. After 70 days, researchers then injected the mice with the same tumor cells, but their immune system was able to dispatch the present tumors and prevent others ability to grow.
"This suggests the immune system remembered the cancer cells for long-term immunity," said Rui Kuai, lead author of the study and doctoral student in pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Michigan.
There will be some time before these vaccines will be ready for the public. The team needs to further their research and are already looking towards the next step in planning to test the technology on a larger group of animals of varying sizes.
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